Gumede won’t step down as Durban mayor due to ‘mere allegations’

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. Picture: NQOBILE MBONAMBI / AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. Picture: NQOBILE MBONAMBI / AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

The mayor insists that the case must run its course and that until this occurs, she’s innocent until proven guilty.

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on charges that include fraud, corruption, and racketeering on Tuesday, but she told The Star on Wednesday morning that she had no intention of vacating her position as her alleged wrongdoings are “mere allegations”.

The charges against Gumede relate to an alleged dodgy tender within the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) department.

Gumede stands accused of playing a “major role” in the defrauding of ratepayers to the tune of R208 million.

According to the Hawks, those involved in the tender were “allegedly paid huge amounts of money even though they didn’t render any service.”

Gumede, however, insists that the case must run its course and that until this occurs, she’s innocent until proven guilty.

“It is very difficult to say what the ANC will say regarding my arrest. However, what I can say is that I am innocent until proven guilty and the law [must] take its course, because I have full respect for our courts,” she said.

READ MORE: Durban Mayor Gumede granted R50k bail

Gumede appeared in court alongside another eThekwini government official, infrastructure portfolio committee chairperson Mondli Mthembu, as well as businessman Craig Ponnan.

“Three suspects aged between 61 and 58 will appear in the Specialised Commercial Court today as part of the Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team (NCATT) investigation at eThekwini municipality,” a statement from The Hawks confirmed.

The three faced the same charges as nine people were who were arrested for fraud relating to the same tender.

These included DSW deputy head Robert Abbu and the city’s supply chain manager, Sandile Ngcobo. They were arrested three weeks ago in relation to the 2016 DSW tender and have already appeared before the commercial crimes court.

The others accused in the matter were service providers.

Then, on Tuesday morning it emerged that Gumede had handed herself in and appeared in court for her own alleged role in the scandal, where she was granted R50,000 bail with strict conditions.

“As indicated previously, the attendance of all those who played a role in the alleged offences, shall be secured before court where the allegations will be tested,” said Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya.

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